Friday, November 30, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
This is Henry, our Golden Retriever. He`s the fourth retriever we`ve had, following in the pawsteps of Holly, Botham and Rupert. He`s had his problems over the years and now that he`s getting on for nine years old, regular visits to the vet are important to keep him going. (I know the feeling.)
So, tomorrow, we will make the journey to Newnham Court Veterinary Centre for Henry to have his regular three-monthly check up. He has always been looked after very well indeed by Dave Cocker, who has Goldies of his own, so he knows all there is to know about them.
A few years ago, we were on holiday at Newton Ferrers in Devon, when Henry really wasn`t very well at all - he lost weight quickly, couldn`t eat, couldn`t sleep properly and so we cut short the holiday and got him home to see Dave, who immediately diagnosed a pericardial effusion. This is a fairly rare condition, which seems to be contracted mainly by retrievers and involves a severe build-up of fluid around the heart. Nasty and dangerous.
Thanks to Dave, Henry survived and we hope and believe, now that the condition has not returned in over two years , that it will not arise again. But Henry also has arthritis and dodgy hips (sounds more like me with every minute) and is on pills and injections to help him cope.
Tomorrow`s bill will be over £100 (again!) and being a mean old sod I suppose I should moan about that. But, of course, dogs give loyalty, a warm welcome, companionship and trust; Henry is the reason I get to have a good walk every day and we get to explore the Kent countryside, whatever the weather, so it does me good. Tomorrow`s investment in keeping a good friend going for a while longer will indeed be money well spent. No complaints. Honest.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
MINNOWS CLASH IN VINTAGE ENCOUNTER
My father bought our first ever television in 1953. Crafty devil, my dad - convinced my mother that he wanted to buy it to watch the upcoming coronation of Queen Elizabeth 2 as he knew just how much she would enjoy watching it. The truth, I suspect, is that he really wanted to watch the Cup Final which that year was played out between Blackpool and Bolton Wanderers.
Saints have never won anything since.
On Saturday, Blackpool, having been promoted to the Championship from League One, made their first ever visit to St. Mary`s Stadium to play Southampton for the first time in 29 years. So it came as no real surprise that the game produced football of a standard anachronistically plucked from those bygone decades. Lots of honest endeavour; so little quality. No Stanley Matthews` on show, despite Saints` Nathan Dyer showing the occasional attempt to bamboozle Blackpool`s uncompromising full back.
In all honesty, Blackpool were robbed of at least a point, thanks to a combination of rueful finishing, bizarre refereeing and Saints` Jason Euell becoming their first player to miss a penalty at St. Mary`s. Saints won the game 1-0 thanks to a 34th minute goal from Stern John. (In a boredom relieving moment, I asked my neighbour why Stern John had been christened Stern; apparently it was because he was born in the back of a boat.)
It was truly the worst performance I have seen for years - such has been Southampton`s decline and for the first time ever, my perceptive colleagues and I trudged back to Town Quay feeling depressed and angry at what we had witnessed....and this despite winning the game; goodness knows how we might have felt had we lost.
(click to enlarge)
Two clubs which once won the glittering prizes have joined the ranks of the footballing minnows; Southampton`s prospects are grim as they continue to sink, but a resurgent Blackpool seem to be rising to the surface after all those years since they graced our first ever television set and I wish them well. They deserved better on Saturday.
When `606` had come to an end, it seemed to coincide with my leaving the video game which the M25 has become; somehow, it symbolised leaving two sets of madness at the same time and I`m not at all sure which of the two I was more happy to bid goodnight.
Radio, like football and driving, ain`t what it used to be....at least on Five Live.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Good word inevitable - there`s something inevitable about it. And there was a genuine inevitability about last night`s events at Wemblerley.
A couple of days ago, I had lunch with another couple of old codgers I used to work with. Being a bloke thing, whilst the conversation touched on an eclectic range of subjects, football was - inevitably - among the topics discussed.
I confessed to being with Paul Parker, whose contention that it would be a good thing for English football for us to lose out to Croatia, as that would be the catalyst for something to be done. Now, most people thought Parker`s remarks to be unfortunate, bad for morale in advance of such an important game, unpatriotic even and I sensed that my lunchmates shared that view.
But, of course, Parker was right. Had we limped through the qualification, it`s likely that nothing would change in advance of next year`s Euro finals - same manager, same backroom staff, same core players, same tactics, same indecision, same outcome; we might well have limped our way home early in the competition, the inevitable merely delayed. As it is, the inglorious failure of last evening has given English football yet another chance to redeem itself. But there are two questions to address.
The first is, of course, whether that chance will be taken.....and with the FA Board meeting going on at the moment consisting of five `professional game` representatives and five from the `amateur` ranks, it`s unlikely that those turkeys will find themselves voting for Christmas, relying instead on the departure of MacLaren, El Tel, et al and the appointment of yet another unfortunate to disguise the fact that the whole structure of the game in this country is archaic, self-serving, out of time, wallowing in cash but bereft of ideas, courage, vision and a sense of responsibility to the nation which invented the beautiful game in another age.
Which leads to the second question - can anything - anything at all - really be done to arrest the inevitability of history`s recurring repetition? International football teams are not only a reflection of their managers but also a reflection of the culture and the state of the nation at any particular time. A century ago, this country was the power in the world. Like all great `civilisations` before us, there has been a pattern of rise and fall....and our decline as a nation has been yet another inevitability. I believe it to be the case that, whilst we may have high hopes and expectations of our football team, all the time they represent a fractured, fragmented `society` then they have no hope of success. It`s just the way it is - history repeating itself. Inevitably.
We don`t win wars any more, we don`t lead the world any more, we don`t have the high moral values, the social cohesion or the pride and passion anymore, so why should we expect those qualities to be there in the vicarious and parallel universe of football?
Scotland lost out last week - they, like England, came third in their group - and were given a standing ovation for their glorious failure. The reason? Pride and passion shone through on the Hampden pitch and off it. What we saw last night was England being outfought, out-thought and outskilled which led to the inevitable result and a nation despairing of its collective failure....but quite incapable of doing very much about it. Seems to me it`s inevitable.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Now, I`ve never played rugby - just enjoyed watching it - and I`m certainly not Welsh. However, thanks to S4C and my late-night indolence,I discovered that it might be no bad thing to be Welsh after all, for they seem to have a passion, a unity and a pride which all the cynicism, multi-culturalism and fragmentation of our English co-called `society`seems to be losing.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
It will certainly come as a surprise - an unexpectedly generous gift to mark the season of goodwill; she will see just how much thought will have gone into my choice of gift; but above all it will be the practicality that will shine through. It will mean that, when Mrs. Snopper gets to the checkout, she will have £20 knocked off the grocery bill. As they say:-
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Off to the Bluwater Shopping Thingy today, to comply with EEC Directive 132/447/EU/27-eei. and the recently published Christmas Shopping by the End of November Regulations, 2007.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
This is what the local Southampton paper made of yesterday`s events:-
Saturday, November 10, 2007
If you fancy it and can afford it, more details about holidays in this very special place, where the sound of silence is deafening, the scenery quite breathtaking and where the days drift seamlessly into one another, can be found at http://go.gomango.co.uk/fleteestate/innersite/?photogallery.cfm~mainframe
Thursday, November 08, 2007
A BROKEN RECORD....
Well, two records really. On Saturday, when Saints FC lost to Charlton`s last gasp winner, it had been 31 games since Saints failed to score. On Tuesday evening, a drab 0-0 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers saw another record go. This was the first time in 33 games that Saints had been involved in a scoreless draw....and this against a team we had beaten 6-0 away last season. The natives in S014 are becoming increasingly restless, especially as manager George Burley declared himself `satisfied` with a rare clean sheet. He`s easily pleased!
I KNOW THE FEELING....
......So, Lewis Hamilton is off to live in Switzerland as he`s fed up with people asking for his autograph at petrol stations. Good idea, Lewis - think I`ll join you; just one difference between us - I`m thinking of going so I can avoid paying some of the taxes I`m stuck with. After all, each time I fill up at Tesco`s nobody ever asks me for my autograph.
`Bye then, Lewis - see you at the Sports Personality of the Year Awards. Possibly.